Site Blog

Completed major phase of improved website design


In the works for the last year, I finished a major phase of my improved website design:

  • Back-end Python

    For back-end automation of the page building from my video reference lists, I moved from the very slow AppleScript to the very fast Python.
  • Real-time PHP

    After first having a good portion of the "static" HTML pre-built on the back-end with Python, I finally opted for having all key HTML building done real-time by server-side PHP. Note: While I did also try client-side JavaScript to dynamically build HTML for my Search page, Wall, Spotlight, and Work Details page, the performance was not ideal with the memory required to hold the video catalog data structures and the time to load the many images on pages. I was able to ensure a consistent client-side experience with my indexed page design using server-side PHP.
  • Eliminated website software dependency

    While I did not have many left based on all my script automation, I eliminated the remaining dependencies on RapidWeaver.
  • Re-implemented Search functionality

    After being without search functionality for almost 2 years, I finally got around to creating my own search functionality with a more functional results list focused on video references.
  • Re-implemented Wall of Works functionality

    After being without my Wall of Works functionality for almost 2 years, I finally got around to re-implementing it with some basic HTML (instead of the CoolIris plug-in).
  • Improved lightbox functionality

    I implemented a more up-to-date lightbox control (jQuery + Fancybox) and integrated it with the Wall of Works. I also designed the lightbox calls to faciliate easy paging through similar content (e.g., details, images, videos).
  • Improved Work Details page

    I improved the aesthetics of the dynamically built Work Details pages, including displaying a large reference image when available.
  • Improved Ranking tooltip

    I included the full review as a tooltip when hovering over the ranking icon.
  • Improved visual appeal of sections

    I moved away from pure text by incorporating more icons: country flags, shop logos, and linked site logos. Also, for indexed sections (e.g., by alpha letter), I incorporated a sample image based on the highest ranked work in the section. Finally, I made sure all the Favorites sections were full of images.

Added lightbox effect along with other updates


I replaced my homegrown "site media viewer" window with a cool floating panel effect (a.k.a., lightbox) using mediaboxAdvanced. In addition, I added many more images (only some are still left for movies), wikipedia links, video links, and rankings.

Two new special topic pages!


I was able to create two new topic pages that are auto maintained from my notes: Favorite Milestones and Favorite Integrated Characters. Check them out!

More images, video links, and works!


For some time, there have been many reference images missing for recommendations. I recently spent some time gathering many more reference images (including 400x300 versions) as well as linking to Vimeo and finding new short videos. I also created a better presence in Vimeo with the CG Corner channel. I still have much more to do in order to get this site fully up to standard (i.e., add missing images for movies, add upcoming movies, add full rankings/reviews for many works, etc.), but this was still a major update to the site :)

Back to updating content more regularly


I had only been updating this site piecemeal in the last year, but I hope to get back to keeping it fresh. It can be time-consuming to research all upcoming movie sources, get reference links, and find/edit reference images.

Upgraded site infrastructure (including search engine)


This site is now using the RapidSearch Pro search engine which is better than the previous Sphider search engine scripts.

Enhanced country support


For non-US releases, provided various links to a new Releases by Country page.

Refreshed/added lots of works!


Took some time to update the site with various new films, release dates, and features that I had been queueing up for months!

  1. Added a new CoolIris image feed for upcoming releases and updated the home page to default to it;
  2. Added ILM's upcoming first full-length animated feature, Rango;
  3. Added Blue Sky's upcoming colorful film, Rio;
  4. Added all three 3-D Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote shorts, including the next upcoming short, Fur of Flying;
  5. Added the super-cool DC Universe Online cinematic;
  6. Refreshed/updated many other films.
P.S. More updates for the farther out stuff coming within the next week :)

Added review for movie "Shrek Forever After"


Even though Shrek Forever After had great animation and a warm story, it is a shame that the franchise ended with relatively weak comedic writing.

Added cool short "Azureus Rising" to catalog


The 2010 fully animated short from Black Sun, Azureus Rising (a proof-of-concept for a potential movie trilogy), makes my recommendations list.

Added cool short "Pixels" to catalog


The 2010 partially animated short from Patrick Jean, Pixels, makes my recommendations list.

More new stuff


I added links for the sites I use to get my information on existing and upcoming works.

Also, since I have started collecting larger images for display in the 3-D Wall of Works, I have now added a feature that lets you see the larger image whenever you are on the "Recommendations" pages and you hover over an image that has a corresponding larger image. I generalized my "Site Media Viewer" to handle images in addition to videos.

My rankings


I thought long and hard about my ranking system, but sometimes I still struggle calling a work "Weak" that has many great aspects to it.

My primary ranking is very straight-forward (and very subjective to my tastes): if a work does not compel me to watch it again at some point, then it is "Weak". Aside from that, if it especially impressed me at many levels, then it is a "Favorite"; everything else is "Good".

Having felt a little guilty about giving an overall ranking of "Weak" to so many works that were visually impressive, I first created a ranking for each key aspect of an animated work (i.e., "Design", "Animation", "Concept", and "Writing"). I assigned either "Great", "Good", "Basic", or "Weak" to each aspect, and I ordered them on the site to display the most positive aspects first. I then created a section on this site (for shorts only) called "Good Visuals", representing works with an overall ranking of "Weak" where I ranked the "Design" and "Animation" aspects either "Good" or "Great".

In the near future, I plan on re-evaluating the existing rankings, since I assigned them at different times (and with slightly different standards) and I would like to ensure they are more consistent.

Welcome CoolIris and Amazon features


This site's homepage now has the best way to browse a visual medium: the visual CoolIris browser plug-in. You can quickly scan all recommended works on this site and then stop to deep dive on anything that interests you.

Note: I wish I would have kept the original 400x300 images I created (I downsized them all to 120x90 for faster-loading pages), since CoolIris maximizes the image when you click on it, and 120x90 images do not hold up well.

Also, using logic from my personal site, it was easy to implement support for Amazon links to any of the recommended works that I own on BD or DVD.

Enjoy! :)

Faster and cleaner


Before I dive into filling in the missing pieces for the existing content, I wanted to make the site more responsive. Bringing up the "more info" window or going to releases for the same year or shop all took seconds to load and position themselves to the correct location in the page. This was primarily for the first time that session when those pages were accessed, but it still was annoyingly unresponsive. So, I redesigned my site automation to split big files into logical sections (one page per alphabetic index, one page per release year, etc.) and redesigned the home page and the "Releases" tab to be cleaner and easier to follow. It is all a lot faster and smoother now :)

Maintaining a short video collection


I figured that I would share my setup for maintaining a short video collection on my computer, in case someone is struggling with doing something similar.

"Coming soon"?


While this site has a whole lot of information, it is still missing some things. After just quickly implementing the indexing/sorting like iTunes (so "The " and "A " are ignored at the beginning of titles and shop names), I will now move on to the following:

  1. [Shorts] [Good] provide video links
  2. [Shorts] [Good Visuals] provide images, reference links, synopses, and video links
  3. [Shorts] provide Academy Awards and SIGGRAPH awards info
  4. [Movies] [Favorite] provide review details
  5. [Movies] [Good] provide images, video links, and review details
  6. [Series] provide video links and review details
  7. [Cinematics] provide images, reference links, video links, and review details
  8. [Commercials] provide reference links, video links, and review details

Spotlight feature added


In order to expose more people to my favorite works, I have incorporated a new "Spotlight" feature on the homepage. While I originally planned to include each spotlighted work for a whole month, I thought it would be more useful to have my automation script provide the list of all spotlight candidates (currently only focusing on shorts) and then have the page randomly choose one with each visit. Clicking on the image will take you to the review.

The Indie Coming of Age


I added a topic called The Indie Coming of Age which provides my thoughts on early indie animation.

Recognition for good visuals


It is clear that many great artists have put in a lot of effort to create their shorts. There are some shorts that I consider to have nice visuals (design and animation), but that I do not find very compelling as an overall short film due to their limited concept or writing.

I decided to create a new section called Good Visuals in recognition of some really cool visual shorts that did not make my general recommendations page. Enjoy!

2010 Academy Awards have been handed out!


I was very disappointed that Avatar and French Roast lost!

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find on Comcast On Demand an HD presentation from Shorts International on the Academy Award Nominees for best animated short. I finally got to see and review: The Kinematograph, The Lady and the Reaper, and Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty.

This site is born!


Now that my site hosting provider, SimpleHELIX, allows me 10 domains, I decided to break out the computer animation pages from my personal site,, into this new computer animation site, CG Corner.

Because I love computer animation and actively track it down (including future and foreign releases), you can be assured that this site will be pretty comprehensive and up-to-date, especially since I fully automated its updates from my personal spreadsheet that I have been updating for years (Note: you can learn about my site automation here). Enjoy!

Steve Bondi


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